Prisoner escapes from Camp

Harlan inmate on the run

Staff Report

Joe Johnson Jr.

James Cowels

The Bell County Forestry Camp reported that James Chad Cowles ran off from the facility Saturday evening.

Cowles is 40 years old, stands around 5’9” with brown hair. He was originally sentenced in Warren County for possession of a controlled substance and theft by unlawful taking when he stole a car from a dealership on Feb. 27.

Another escape has been reported from neighboring Harlan County.

A Harlan County Detention Center inmate escaped from a deputy jailer Saturday at Harlan ARH Hospital, according to a press release from the jail.

The release states that at approximately 12:01pm., Harlan County Detention Center staff called 911 from Harlan ARH Hospital reporting that an inmate, Joe Johnson Jr., 21, of Coldiron, had escaped the deputy jailer’s care while at the Hospital. The deputy reported that Johnson had broken what appeared to be a 9-12” florescent bulb over the sink in the hospital room in front of of the deputy jailer. He stated that Johnson presented the weapon in the direction of the deputy jailer and said “I will kill you.” The inmate exited the room and made his way to the stairwell. He then pursued the inmate into the stairwell where Johnson lunged at the deputy with the broken bulb several times. The deputy jailer reported that Johnson repeatedly told him “I will kill you if you follow me.”

The release also states that the deputy then called 911 for backup to notify all law enforcement of the situation, at which point Johnson was able to escape the building through employee parking lot from the basement stairwell.

Johnson was wearing a white T-shirt and white hospital pants with blue dots and a set of steel leg restraints.

Johnson is a white male with brown hair and blue eyes. He is 6’ 8” tall, and weighs 180 pounds.

Anyone who has any information or has seen this individual should call local law enforcement.

Johnson was incarcerated over a week ago on Aug. 27 on numerous charges.

He was arrested by Kentucky State Police Master Trooper Michael Cornett on a warrant that contained three theft charges.

According to the warrant, during May 31 and June 11, Johnson used a stolen credit card belonging to a female to purchase a log splitter, chain saw, Weedeater and a pair of boots from Tractor Supply Internet site. Johnson ordered the items using the females name and her personal identifying information.

Johnson was charged with fraudulent use of a credit card over $500 but under$10,000, theft by deception and theft of identity of another without consent.

Joe Johnson Jr. Johnson Jr.

James Cowels Cowels
Harlan inmate on the run

Staff Report

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